Negative Effects of Government-Sponsored Gambling

Governments like to tout the increased tax revenue that comes from its partnership with casinos and other gambling initiatives. But all that revenue comes at the expense of the very taxpayers governments claim to be helping. Read some of the facts surrounding the negative effects of the failed policy decision by governments to enable and expand gambling as way to fund state coffers. (Source: The Center for Counseling & Health Resources Inc.)

  • The gambling industry has grown tenfold in the U.S. since 1975.
  • 37 states now have lotteries.
  • 15 million people display some sign of gambling addiction.
  • Two-thirds of the adult population placed some kind of bet last year.
  • Gambling profits in casinos are more than $30 billion while lotteries are about $17 billion annually.
  • “Players” with household incomes under $10,000 bet nearly three times as much on lotteries as those with incomes over $50,000.
  • In 1973 state lotteries had $2 billion in sales. By 1997, the revenues reached $34 billion.
  • Gambling among young people is on the increase: 42 percent of 14-year-olds, 49 percent of 15-year-olds, 63 percent of 16-year-olds, 76 percent of 18-year-olds.
  • There are now approximately 260 casinos on Indian reservations (in 31 states and with $6.7 billion in revenue).
  • Internet gambling has nearly doubled every year since 1997 – in 2001 it exceed $2 billion.
  • The Internet boasts 110 sport-related gambling sites.
  • According to the American Psychological Association the Internet could be as addictive as alcohol, drugs, and gambling.
  • After casinos opened in Atlantic City, the total number of crimes within a thirty-mile radius increased 100 percent.
  • The average debt incurred by a male pathological gambler in the U.S. is between $55,000 and $90,000 (it is $15,000 for female gamblers).
  • The average rate of divorce for problem gamblers is nearly double that of non-gamblers.
  • The suicide rate for pathological gamblers is twenty times higher than for non-gamblers (one in five attempts suicide).
  • Sixty-five percent of pathological gamblers commit crimes to support their gambling habit.